Ministry looks at expanding plastic ban

The Government is looking at expanding its ban beyond plastic bags and styrofoam products, according to a senior official.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment [M.N.R.E.] Principal Waste Management Officer, Aliimuamua Setoa Apo, told the Samoa Observer the Government-initiated prohibition will be expanded to other types of plastic that the people and businesses are now using.

“The Ministry is also aware that we will not limit the ban to styrofoam and plastic bags," Aliimuamua said. "We have also observed that there’s another particular type of plastic containers that has started to become more popular now, so we will have that finalised soon and let everyone know."

The Government’s plastic bag ban went into effect 30 January 2019 and the prohibition on the use of styrofoam products has been deferred to 28 February 2021. 

Since the Government announced the bans on plastic last year, a few local businesses have stepped forward to offer alternative environmentally-friendly products that could be used.

They include Samoa Green Products Ltd at Tanumapua, which produces plates and cutlery made from Samoan palm leaves [aulosoloso] using a palm leaf plate press that they imported from India.

The Waste (Plastic Ban) Management Regulation 2018 was officially endorsed by the Cabinet of the Government of Samoa in 2018 to manage the problem of plastic waste in Samoa with a commitment to protect the country’s oceans and marine environment.

Those who fail to comply with the plastic ban can face a fine of up to $10,000 tala.

According to Aliimuamua, since the plastic bag ban went into effect last year, the public has cooperated to ensure that there was compliance. 

“We acknowledge the support of our people because since the beginning of this thing, they’ve been supportive all throughout,” he said.

“I know that there are some areas where plastic bags were not banned like for the meat because there is no other option but overall, everyone was cooperative.”

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